Southern got its second milestone victory in four days.
After getting a rare victory against a Southeastern Conference team when they won at Mississippi State on Monday night, the Jaguars defeated Tulane 90-82 on Thursday night in their home opener in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. It was Southern’s first win against Tulane in nine games.
“It was a big win,” guard Christopher Hyder said. “After beating an SEC team, I think early on, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We looked at it as a must-win.”
The Jaguars fell behind by eight points after nine minutes but rallied for a four-point halftime lead and never trailed in the second half.
“We hadn’t been in this situation before,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “So coming off that (Mississippi State) win, my concern was that no matter how hard you try to pump them up, we’d be a little flat. To see them work through that and come back was big.”
The Jaguars (2-1) host Dillard on Tuesday, and the Green Wave (1-2) host Appalachian State on Sunday.
Adrian Rodgers led Southern with 20 points. Jared Sam had 17, Hyder 15, Shawn Prudhomme 13 and Trelun Banks 12.
Former LSU guard Malik Morgan led Tulane with 18, and Louis Dabney and Dylan Osetkowski scored 16 each. Morgan played 27 minutes and Dabney 23 because of foul trouble.
Southern outscored Tulane 23-9 off of turnovers after committing 10 compared to the Wave’s 15.
“When we had a chance with the lead in the first half, we didn’t take care of the basketball,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “We had some careless turnovers.”
Conroy apologized for “a couple of strange incidents” that he said “are not indicative of our team.”
The first came with the Jaguars leading 69-64 and resulted in a six-point possession for Southern with 6:47 left.
The Jaguars’ Tony Nunn scored on a layup and was fouled by Jernard Jarreau, who argued the call and was whistled for two technical fouls and ejected. Rodgers made all four technical free throws to give Southern a 75-64 lead.
“That was a real big point in the game,” Rodgers said. “That’s when we knew we were in a good position.”
Tulane didn’t go away and got within six, but Rodgers made a 3-pointer with 2:44 left. The Green Wave got within six again and got the ball back after a Sam miss with 1:15 left.
Dabney’s three-point play cut the lead to 84-81 with 1:05 left. After a Jaguars turnover, Melvin Frazier made one of two free throws to cut it to 84-82 with 24 seconds left.
Biut Hyder made two free throws and after Morgan missed a 3-pointer, then came the second “strange incident” Conroy referred to.
Prudhomme broke free ahead of the defense and went in for a layup, and Blake Paul fouled him hard and knocked him to the floor. Southern players ran to check on Prudhomme, and both coaching staffs quickly separated the teams as Paul was called for a flagrant foul with 3.6 seconds left.
Prudhomme made two free throws, and after the inbounds pass, Hyder was fouled added two more to complete the scoring.
“They’re a veteran team that was coming off a big win and playing at home with a lot of confidence,” Conroy said. “Credit them.”
Morgan, playing in Baton Rouge for the first time since leaving LSU two years ago, hit his first two shots, both 3-pointers, to help the Green Wave build a 20-12 lead before he went to the bench after committing his second foul with 10:05 left in the first half.
“We knew it was early,” Rodgers said. “Basketball is a game of runs, and right after that, we made ours.”
The Jaguars took their first lead at 22-20 and briefly surrendered it at 31-30 before grabbing a 39-35 halftime lead.